Top 10 Free Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop (same effective, but free)

WebBuildersGuide.com earns commission from some of the web builders and hosting providers listed on this website. Learn more
author avatar Written by Lesley Haught

In this review, you will learn about the 10 best free Adobe Photoshop alternatives (online and offline) that you can use instead of Photoshop without paying a cent.

When you think of Photo editing and manipulation, the first name that pops up is usually Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop has been a market leader for many years now, and although many competitors have entered the market, it remains the initial option for a designer. The uses and implications of Photoshop are limitless, but beginners and occasional users still face many problems.

NOTE: the software discussed in this post are more suitable for photo editing, creating graphic images and various collages. You can also use them to create a website design (as in the usual Photoshop), but if your goal is to create a website, then it’s better to use free website builders which are more adapted to such tasks.

The main concern is the price tag which may be affordable to specific large organizations and designing institutes. Still, the price is relatively high for a new learner and occasional user. Today the competition is too high that many free alternatives to Photoshop provide powerful and flexible platforms for the users. Some alternatives provide a free trial of a week and let you carry on with a particular payment amount. However, this article will discuss the best free alternatives to Photoshop.

Secondly, another concern for the users is the time it takes to learn or, even more so, master the software. Fully understanding the software’s complexities and coping with the updates and introduction of newer tools by Creative Cloud has pressured the users to devote a lot of precious time.

Free Offline Photoshop Alternatives (for download)

The advantage of downloadable Adobe Photoshop alternatives is that you download the software once and use it without the need for an Internet connection. You can use these Photoshop alternatives on Mac, PC (Windows) or Android – it doesn’t matter.

GIMP

GIMP, also primarily known as GNU Image Manipulation Program, is one of the best free Photoshop alternatives in many ways. If you need a budget-friendly platform and an advanced raster editor just like Photoshop, then GIMP is you’re to go software. It has an interface very similar to Photoshop, and you can also customize or reposition the windows according to your requirements.

GIMP free Photoshop alternative

Image source: gimp.org

GIMP has many features like basic image editing, image retouching, batch image processing, image converter, and more, depending on what you want with your image. Furthermore, it is an open-source program available for Windows, Mac, and Linux so that anyone can use it.

Strengths:

Advanced features such as layers and filters are included

No ads or other subscription-only limitations

Add-ons and third-party plugins/scripts to edit RAW photos

History toolbar and Image slicing support are available

Weaknesses:

A steep learning curve for beginners

Brushes often have the same settings ignoring the variance needed

No drawing capability

Almost no compatibility with PSD (Photoshop) files

Krita

Krita is a highly recommended software that uses a Photoshop alternative for image editing. It is best for users looking for a better platform to show their creativity. The user interface of Krita is very similar to Photoshop, which makes it a good Photoshop alternative for photographers, artists, graphic designers, etc. In addition to rulers and guides, Krita is equipped with built-in templates and an extensive library of effects and filters.

free Photoshop alternative Krita

Image source: krita.org

The main advantage of Krita as an alternative to Photoshop is a vast library of unique pop-up color palettes that are used for coloring and shading etc. Krita’s best feature, similar to Photoshop, is its ability to use imported brushes and textures, which can be found easily on the internet and online forums.

Strengths:

Similar look to Photoshop

The user interface is adjustable

Photoshop files are supported

Used for windows, Linux, and Mac

Pre-installed templates and brushes are available

Supported by drawing tablets

Weaknesses:

No camera RAW filter

Slow processing of images

No history function

Not best for image editing

Not up-to-date versions are available

Photo POS Pro

Hands down the best and most similar software on the market today. Photo POS Pro is probably the most advanced and complete image editing suite which rivals adobe Photoshop. Photo POS Pro contains many features as Photoshop, from brushes to built-in plugins, which gives the user the best possible editing experience. The many tools of Photo POS Pro let you work your creativity, from image editing to even creating business cards. The Interface is simplistic, unlike other Photoshop alternatives mentioned in this list.

Photo POS Pro - free Photoshop alternative

Image source: photopos.com

The best feature of Photo POS Pro is it lets you change the layout of the Interface between “Novice” to “Expert” as the user gets more professional and expert in using the software. Unlike some other Photoshop alternatives, Photo POS Pro can be used to create new documents and edit compelling images.

Strengths:

Novice (for beginners) and Expert (for pros) layout

Easy tutorials to follow

Supports RAW file formats

Layers and Masks features

Photoshop similar interface

Weaknesses:

Expert layout challenging to understand

Slow processing at times

The size of the export file is limited

Need to purchase full features

Steep learning curve

InkScape

If you are a freelance designer, a small business, or even a photographer who needs to edit and enhance images, InkScape can help you in many situations. Inkscape is an open-source web-based drawing program that works on vector images. If you wonder that vector images are often used in Adobe illustrator rather than Adobe Photoshop, this is the case. However, Inkscape has many features for enhancing images and making basic adjustments, making this platform one of the free alternatives to Photoshop.

free Photoshop alternative InkScape

Image source: inkscape.org

While reviewing and comparing InkScape to Adobe Photoshop, many people have suggested that InkScape is easier to set up. Still, it is not meant for larger business setups with large images to use.

Strengths:

Best for simple vector illustrations such as infographics, cartoons and charts

User-friendly interface with easy to understand tools

Great potential for creative drawings and designing cartoon characters for free

Weaknesses:

One must go through documentation and tutorials before properly using Inkscape

May lag or crash when working with large files

Photo Scape X

If you are searching for editing images taken from your smartphone, PhotoScape X can be your friend. Created by MOOII Tech, a Korean-based company, PhotoScape can do just anything Photoshop can. From performing batch edits, executing screen captures, and designing animated GIFs to enhancing images, PhotoScape provides tons of options for free.

Photo Scape X free Photoshop alternative

Image source: x.photoscape.org

If you are searching for editing images taken from your smartphone, PhotoScape X can be your friend. Created by MOOII Tech, a Korean-based company, PhotoScape can do just anything Photoshop can. From performing batch edits, executing screen captures, and designing animated GIFs to enhancing images, PhotoScape provides tons of options for free.

Strengths:

Best for beginners as it offers an easy-to-use editing toolkit and has a smooth interface

All tools are available for free

It has an unparalleled converter of RAW images to JPEG and other formats

Weaknesses:

The tools get muddled, so it becomes hard to find the right tool at the right time

Adding graphics and texts to the image can sometimes prove hectic

Raw Therapee

RawTherapee is a free Photoshop alternative and a cross-platform raw photo processing system. It is designed for developing raw files from a broad range of digital cameras. Deep photo color correction, high dynamic range (HDR) tone mapping, histogram matching, and other helpful pictures are the winning attributes of RawTherapee. Lightroom’s rival software with versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux allows you to work with RAW files non-destructive way.

free Photoshop alternative - Raw Therapee

Image source: rawtherapee.com

RawTherapee is not incredibly user-friendly. If you’re a technical mindset and are mature enough in digital illustrations, you could benefit from fine control of individual settings.

Strengths:

A critical component is open-source, i.e. it can drive with different versions such as Windows Mac and Linux

Well-designed catalog, another defining feature of RawTherapee, includes pre-processing and pattern noise

It excels in color correction. The advanced instruments for color correction are more profound, which offers you endless possibilities

Weaknesses:

The Interface is not user-friendly because the download includes a manual for the software, but the manual is not most accessible to a stratagem

It has a few professional RawTherapee tutorials

Free Online Photoshop Alternatives

Online Photoshop alternatives, on the other hand, do not require installation, but an Internet connection is required. You just go to the software site, register for free and can immediately start using it. Or even without a registration.

Pixlr Editor

Although no other software can compete with Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr Editor is a good Photoshop alternative available in the market for free. Pixlr Editor is a browser-based software that gives you many development tools similar to Photoshop like a blur, sharpens, curves, and much more.. It is the best software for someone who wants to edit images without spending money quickly.

Pixlr Editor free Photoshop alternative

With a modern interface with light and dark color schemes, Pixlr Editor is based on HTML5, making it the best Photoshop alternative. These features make the Pixlr editor so tempting for beginner photographers and professionals looking for a quick edit. At first glance, Pixlr has a similar interface as Photoshop but being browser-based software, it has its limits.

Strengths:

It is a Browser-based platform

Opens images from desktop and URLs

Accessible on any device

History toolbar and Image slicing support are available

Auto-fix tool to prevent over edits

All the essential tools like Photoshop

Weaknesses:

Internet connection is needed

Some tools are still in the Beta phase

New fonts are not easy to install

Few tools are slow

No rulers or guides

File compatibility is limited

Photopea

Like Pixlr Editor, Photopea is another browser-based image and graphic editing software that is a great alternative to Photoshop available on the market. Its user interface is very much like Photoshop, which is excellent for beginners or users who do not want to wait for Photoshop to load. Like Pixlr Editor, Photopea is compatible with all platforms. The best part of using photopeak is the workflow and designing capabilities which are very much like Photoshop. This makes it easier for users who use Photoshop daily.

free Photoshop alternative Photopea

The advantage of using Photopea is that it supports many file formats like PSD, CDR, and XD etc. and can export work in JPEG, PNG, and PSD file formats. Photopea contains many similar tools found in PS like a pen, brush, blend modes, and templates, making it the best free Photoshop alternative.

Strengths:

Browser-based

Supports PSD files

Accessible on any device

Exports in PSD as well as JPG or PNG

Small learning curve

Supported by chrome, edge, Firefox, etc. browsers

Weaknesses:

Internet connection is needed

Shows Ads on the sidebar

New fonts are not easy to install

Few tools are slow

No rulers or guides

File compatibility is limited

Easy Free Photoshop Alternatives

The next two tools are easy to use. One of them is online and the other one is offline. Both are simple enough for beginners to handle.

Sumopaint

Sumopaint is a Photoshop freeware alternative that has proven to be a feasible option for mediocre-level editing features for free. Sumopaint has a unique feature that makes it stand out from the rest of the market: it is cloud-based, which means that you will not be prompted to download or install anything.

Sumopaint free Photoshop alternative

Sumopaint is a good Photoshop alternative as the layers, tools, and brushes are just like Photoshop and can save any file. The best feature of Sumopaint is that it has an exclusive option for working offline. The tools are easy to use, and a complete detail alongside each tool makes it relatively easy for beginners to use. The powerful tools and features allow even complex editing and manipulation to be executed.

Strengths:

Any operating system supports it

It is cloud-based and can be used by any device anywhere

A simple and user-friendly interface is easy to learn for beginners as well

Sumopaint has a substantial online community in case a user needs any help

Complex functionality like gradients, symmetry tools, layer blending, clone stamping, etc

Weaknesses:

Requires Flash and has on-page ads that might be irritating

No support for PSD files

It doesn’t have a pen tool, RAW image filtering, and ruler/guides

Paint.Net

Developed initially as a competitor to Microsoft Paint, Paint.Net has become one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop. The Interface of Paint.Net looks like a more advanced version of Microsoft paint, but it includes tools like blending modes and curves, making it very easy to use the software. Although it cannot compete with the level of editing of Photoshop, the essential editing tools like rulers, guides, and layers make it worthy software to include in this list.

free Photoshop alternative Paint.Net

Image source: getpaint.net

Unlike other Photoshop alternatives, Paint.Net has the feature of a tabbed document interface, which means you can open multiple documents at once and, like Photoshop and layers can be used in other documents as well.

Strengths:

Easy and simple Interface

Supports multiple file formats

No restrictions on usage

100s of plugins for support

Low memory usage

High-speed performance

Weaknesses:

It only works on windows

Photoshop files are not supported

Plugins not supported on Interface

No advanced tools like patch tool

No spell check for text

No RAW image compatibility

No comments yet